A commonplace book and journal by Krista Kennedy, est. 2003. I’m a writer, researcher, driver, and cook. I profess, tweet, flickr, and otherwise make things.

Other things about me:
A list of 32 things already done toward an interesting life
50 things to do before I turn 50

Why Thinkery?

It’s a name that’s cracked me up for years, ever since I first read Aristophanes’ The Clouds. It’s my favorite of his farces (or at least on par with The Frogs), and features the blundering Strepsiades and a tongue-in-cheek critical portrait of Socrates and his school, here called The Thinkery:

Strepsiades: Throw open the Thinkery! Unbolt the door and let me see this wizard Sokrates in person. Open up! I’m MAD for education!

The ekkyklema is wheeled about to show the whole interior of Sokrates’ Thinkery. High overhead the crane supports Sokrates in his basket busily scanning the heavens. Hanging on the walls of the Thinkery are various charts, maps, intruments, etc. In the center of the courtyard stand a number of utterly pale, emaciated students deeply engaged in a rapt contemplation of the ground.

Strepsiades: Great Herakles. What kind of zoo is this?
Student: What’s so strange about it? What do you take them for?
Strepsiades: Spartan prisoners from Pylos. But why are they all staring at the ground?
Student: They’re engaged in geological research: a survey of the earth’s strata.
Strepsiades: Of course. Looking for truffles. (To one of the students) You there, don’t strain yourself looking. I know where they grow big and beautiful. (Pointing to other students who are bent completely double) Hey, and look there: what are those fellows doing bent over like that?
Student: Those are graduate students doing research on Hades.
Strepsiades: On Hades? Then why are their asses scanning the sky?
Student: Taking a minor in Astronomy.

At certain moments, this strikes me as a particularly accurate view of education. Some days we’re thinking great thoughts, and some days our asses are scanning the sky. Blogs are much the same way.

Leave a Reply